Textual Cacophony: Online Video and Anonymity in Japan (Paperback)
Textual Cacophony explores the behaviors and routines of communication within anonymous internet culture in Japan. Focusing on the video sharing website Niconico, social media aggregation sites, and the notorious 2channel message board, Daniel Johnson uncovers these sites' complex cultures of writing that obscure meaning through playful and opaque forms of deviant script and overwhelming waves of text. Those practices conflate language with images, meaning with play, and confound individual representation with aggregate forms of social identity.
Johnson argues that online media cultures in and around Japan are entwined with a cultural logic and visual syntax of cacophony that expresses ambivalence toward representation, media form, and distinct experiences of time. This aesthetic of cacophony provides an alternative way of expressing social identity and belonging, with an unmarked sense of anonymity providing a counter-form to the dissolving institutions and relationships of neoliberal Japan. Textual Cacophony investigates what it means and feels like to participate in this influential online culture.